Unification News for April 2005

Chicago Ambassador for Peace Seminar "On Common Ground: Positive Results for Peacebuilding"

by Ken Murray
March 13, 2005

In the age of Cheon Il Gook, Father is teaching each of us to take personal responsibility to help to bless the world and to build the kingdom of heaven on earth. It is truly an age when, if we truly set our mind to it, with the help of the spiritual world, there is little that we cannot accomplish. In this vein, David Rendel, Jhon and Marina Acevedo and Jesse Avilla have been working together over the past several months to hold Chicago's very first Hispanic Ambassadors for Peace Conference. Jhon and Marina Acevedo are from Colombia and the Philippines respectively. Recently they went back to the Philippines and blessed Marina's entire family. Through their work our Hispanic church has grown at a most rapid rate. They are even holding church services in Spanish. Thus, as they all prepared for this historic event, they invested more and more and more day by the day. David Rendel, with all of his 20+ years of business training, specializing in quality control kicked in full circuit as he prepared to make this inaugural event one to remember. So every detail, from the quality of the ballroom, to the catered dinner on up was of the highest quality.

Our Hispanic team visited many high level government, religious and political officials, especially in the Elgin (Northwest Chicago suburbs) area where our event would be held. Our tribal messiahs were strongly appealed to and encouraged to support this event, and many would respond.

Like all of our programs, learning what our True Parents have taught us over so many years, we would integrate the word of God with greetings from the political and religious dignitaries, wonderful Mexican dancers in full costume, our own angelic True Family Values Choir with a wonderful and delicious meal.

Modeled after our programs in Washington DC this past year, the theme of our program was entitled "On Common Ground." In this vein the assembled guests came together to dialog about "how to achieve true peace."

I was honored to be invited to offer the invocation and our sister Elizabeth Kuroha, spiritual mother of many of the key participants, offered a beautiful rendition of the Star Spangled Banner. David Rendel offered opening remarks and our dignitaries each offered deep heartfelt greetings..

Our guests, again primarily Hispanic, came from so many realms of our diverse society. They would represent the Elgin City Council, the Roman Catholic Church, several key Hispanic organizations and many representing the arts and community service organizations. One of our key leaders, a full fledged Ambassador for Peace and veteran of both a pilgrimage to Israel and the December Washington Conferences is a most special individual. He was a very close friend of the current president of Mexico who had to seek asylum here in America in order to escape torture and persecution in his native homeland. Today he is reborn and one of our True Parents greatest supporters. Others in the audience were also veterans of these same events and we were seeking to take them to a deeper and higher level.

The central point of the program, a PowerPoint lecture entitled "Positive Results for Peace Builders" was given by Rev.. Carl Swanson, our Midwest Regional AFC Director. Rev. Swearson had driven up to Chicago from St. Louis with several guests, including Berlin Oliver, his AFC cohort in Missouri. Rev. Swearson was able to set the vertical standard of the principle of peace, which would stimulate the meaningful roundtable dialog which was to follow his keynote address. The roundtable discussions are an innovation of the American Leadership Conferences. This is where all the invited guests have ample time to express their opinions and reactions to the program.

We had prepared 4 questions which were evenly distributed to the 300 guests sitting at round tables all throughout the packed hall. The questions which they discussed were as follows:

Why don't people understand that God is the Parent of all humankind and why don't they act like brothers and sisters?

How can we integrate the development of our spiritual nature with our pursuit of material success?

What are the greatest obstacles today in maintaining a healthy, loving family?

How can I work together with people of all faiths, races and ethnic backgrounds to establish a safe and healthy community?

And the discussions were amazing. Some claimed that they could actually see (heavenly) smoke coming from of some tables. It was amazing what kind of conclusions came from these discussions between participants of different languages, races, faiths and backgrounds.

After the discussion, we raised our holy wine glasses and toasted the newly blessed couples. We then gave beautifully framed certificates to the newly appointed Ambassadors for Peace. Then, willing to go practice and spread the new message, the 300 Ambassadors for Peace pledged to fully carry out their new mission.

To conclude, our true host, Bishop Dr. Ki Hoon Kim offered internal guidance to the newly blessed couples and the newly appointed Ambassadors for Peace.

Yet, even at the conclusion, few were ready to leave. So all gathered together for a series of group photos and then many began asking about when the next conference would occur.

This was truly a groundbreaking event. The audience was overwhelmingly Hispanic. It was held in a neighboring city of Chicago. But most of all, it was organized and prepared by Tribal Messiahs who were called by God to carry out their own responsibilities in this age of the Cheon IL Gook.

Bishop Kim seemed very pleased, but he challenged us to build on this success and gain an even greater victory the next time out.

As I left the auditorium, I walked out with two young Hispanic guests. I could see the pride on their faces as they tightly held their beautiful new Ambassador for Peace plaques. I could feel a touch of spring in the still winter air of cold Chicago. But True Father always reminds us that everything moves so quickly in springtime. And with this promise, I am sure that many many great victories still lie ahead.

Blessing Ceremony at Rev. Weston's Church.

March 12, 2005

Pastor Willie Weston, a very dear friend and minister, who works very closely with our church, especially with all our ACLC activities, held a very special ceremony for his assistant pastor, Elder Cashaw and his wife on Saturday.

Elder J. D. Cashaw and his wife celebrated their 25th wedding anniversary by being re-married and renewed their vows. They invited many guests, including other ministers and requested that I and my wife would attend. A couple days before, I asked Pastor Weston if I could bring "Holy Wine." He enthusiastically agreed.

When I arrived, I met pastor in his office, and he warmly welcomed me, feeling relieved that I got there in time to prepare the Holy Wine, feeling like this was the most important part of the whole ceremony. He said we should prepare for all the couples. There were approximately 200 people in attendance, and we prepared for all the couples by placing the holy wine cups in 2 special gold containers, they use for communion.

Pastor asked me to sit up front with him and after we distributed the Holy Wine, he asked me to recite our four pledges. I recited one at a time, having every one repeat them out loud. Every one of the couples affirmed four pledges loud and clear, repeating what I read in unison. After I finished, they showed their appreciation and total support by giving a loud applause. I felt it was a beautiful moment for God and True Parents.

We concluded the evening with a nice banquet.

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